We're continuing our exploration of Judaism's take on summer. Is it a time of light and happiness, or the hollow shadows of tragedies in our past?
Last week we discovered that Newton’s third law of motion – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction – also applies to the balance between the spiritual and the physical. The juicy summer fruits can find their mirror in succulent spiritual fruits as well. The summer sun finds its parallel in G-d Himself: "For G-d the L-rd is a sun and a shield.”
When I was in seventh grade, a rare solar eclipse occurred in the skies of northern California. In science class we studied about the impending eclipse and prepared small cardboard viewers with pinholes, shields for our eyes. Holding the shield to our eye, we could peer through the tiny pinhole to see the eclipse. It was an awesome sight. The sun’s corona radiated out beyond the sun’s round orb, usually never clearly visible. The teacher explained that without the shield, the sun’s rays would burn our corneas, and that no one was to look at the sun without the shield. Even with it, we could only gaze at the sun for a few seconds before looking away.
The 1 percent of the Sun's surface still visible is about 10,000 times brighter than the full moon. The power of G-d’s infinite light is of massively greater magnitude than the rays of the sun. If G-d would allow His light to shine into this world unimpeded, there would be no “this world,” for nothing else could exist in the face of G-d. Only by blocking some of this light, by making a shadowed place, can there be this world. It is a balance between action and opposite reaction, between G-d’s light and a place devoid of that light, between sun and shield. That is our world. A place where anything is possible.